Working on stuff that doesn’t matter
Do I work on stuff that matters? Sometimes, I really don’t think so. My work (which I enjoy on a day-to-day basis) generally has an operational bent to it, even if that’s not the official label for it. That means that I don’t leave a product behind, which means that I have to look at the effect of my work on other people. Protecting people’s financial lives from fraud does matter, but that doesn’t feel particularly concrete. My work doesn’t not matter, I suppose, but it also doesn’t inspire me in a long-term sense.
I don’t know what stuff will end up really mattering. Maybe it’s data science, especially in the service of something that benefits all of us. Maybe it’s something non-technical, like dispute resolution or just helping out new dads and fatherless boys. Maybe it’s as “simple” as just focusing more of my time and energy on my family and community.
But I do know that I feel like the financial services industry probably won’t provide it, at least not for me. And just playing games definitely doesn’t, though that doesn’t mean that virtual worlds don’t matter (nor that I won’t find stuff that matters working on related topics).